Saturday 16 December 2017

We trust gardai, Google and Michael D – but not the Pope, Jesus or Bono

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

WE used to trust in God, but not so much any more. An Garda Siochana, hospital doctors, the President and Google are the most trusted role models or institutions in the State today.

And the Irish Independent/ Today FM Behaviour and Attitudes survey shows that politicians – and in particular the Government – are utterly failing to connect with the public, with just one in eight respondents saying they trust the Coalition.

While reasonably healthy levels of trust are vested in charity organisations and judges, support for international business leaders, non-governmental bodies (NGOs) and trade unions is less apparent.

The church is only marginally more trusted than Facebook – 21pc said they trusted the church or religious bodies, compared with 16pc for the social media giant.

But the survey also finds, unsurprisingly, that Irish banks are the least-trusted institution – just 10pc of people said they had faith in them.

An interesting aspect is that although people trust the President – and believe that politicians who have broken the mould, including Michael D Higgins and Barack Obama, are worthy of trust – they don't believe in the Government.

Just 12pc believe the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition can be trusted – slightly ahead of bankers – with the media "in general" and trade unions both polling at 20pc, with Irish business leaders trusted by 22pc.

Among 20 to 29 year olds, the most trusted institution or group is hospital doctors, trusted by 68pc of those polled, and the least trusted is the Government at 9pc.

Gardai are the most trusted group among 30 to 39 year olds and 40 to 49 year olds, with Irish banks the least trusted.

There's also a difference in attitudes among the sexes, and between Dublin and the rest.

Males aged 30-39 trust gardai and the President, while women favour hospital doctors and gardai.

In terms of the public figures considered to the best role models, the aforementioned politicians and sports personalities including Brian O'Driscoll and Katie Taylor are considered trustworthy.

The poll finds that ground-breaking politicians are seen as suitable role models by 15pc of respondents, followed by sports personalities (10pc), business people including Michael O'Leary (7pc), personal friend/family member (4pc) and musicians including Bono and Bob Geldof, TV personalities and actors – all at 3pc.

Just 1pc said Jesus Christ or Pope Francis were role models.

It also finds that despite the media in general not being trusted, home-grown outlets across print, radio, television and online are considered trustworthy sources of news and information.

Blogs and social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook – where content is less likely to be verified – poll poorly.

Radio stations are the most trusted form of media, according to 83pc of those who responded, followed by RTE (81pc), TV3 (73pc) and Irish newspapers (71pc).

They are followed by Google (76pc) – which offers links to news websites, as opposed to producing content – Sky (65pc) and online news websites such as and, trusted by 63pc. English newspapers (50pc), magazines "in general" (44pc) and blogs (39pc) make up the remainder.

Surprisingly, advertising (40pc) is more trusted than Twitter (35pc) and Facebook (31pc). However, among the youngest cohort – the 20 to 29 year old grouping – Twitter and Facebook are trusted over advertising and magazines.

Irish Independent

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